Sunday, June 25, 2017
PWG Game Over, Man Review
Typically, PWG shows just get a TON of high praise, to the point where me giving one of their shows a 7/10 makes me look like I’m the bad guy. This show is a bit different. I’ve heard plenty of positive reviews, but some matches are getting mixed reactions. A few matches have been considered great by some and terrible by others. I’m intrigued at how I see this show.
This was just Lio’s third match in PWG, with his first two getting ***¾ (vs. Ricochet) and ***½ (vs. Trevor Lee). This was one of those matches that got a mixed reaction. I got what I expected, with tons of fast paced action and crazy athletic high spots. Since it featured two respectful performers, they had some fun. An exchange saw them do WWE moves, from a Fenix 619 to Lio hitting an RKO, complete with Orton pose. It was odd that this came towards the end of the match, as I think it would’ve fit better near the beginning. Their barrage of offense led to them both fainting at one point. Rush eventually won after an apron Spanish Fly, though it was an awkward spot. There were a few strange moments and it went too long for what they were going for. However, I thought this was a good opener, filled with action that the crowd ate up.
Right from the start, there was a lot of Cole being a dick. He mocked Riddle’s MMA background and stuff, so Riddle shut him up with a submission. Once Cole escaped, he surprisingly held serve for most of the match. Though that isn’t exactly how I’d book this, it worked at times because Cole was smug and Riddle bumped well for him. His comeback attempts had fire and it always felt like he was better, but just coming up short against Cole’s tactics. They built to a fine back and forth down the stretch, before Riddle won via Bromission at 13:50. Completely solid, yet unspectacular. They told a fine story and everything came off crisply.
HOSS FIGHT! I love these. It was Cobb who wowed the crowd first, tossing Lee around like he was nothing. For those who have never seen Lee, that’s an insane feat of strength. Chuck Taylor’s commentary line of, “JEFF COBB IS THE STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD” was quite appropriate. The best thing about these guys is that they aren’t just hard hitting hosses. They’re also very athletic, which made this feel like the awesome Cage/Matanza match from Lucha Underground last year. They progressed into exchanging their high impact offense, leading to a standing ovation from the crowd. Near the end, they both went up top and you were legitimately worried the ring would explode. Cobb pulled him down by WALKING WITH HIM and hitting a German. Shortly after that, Cobb won with the Tour of the Islands at 19:06. Like the opener, I don’t know if this had to be as long as it was. Regardless, this was two monsters throwing everything at each other in a hoss war. I like it.
This was during that odd time where Elgin was doing nothing in NJPW. Kyle had recently started appearing in Evolve after leaving ROH. In a match like this, you’d expect the power vs. technical battle. They delivered just that. It’s a tried and true story to tell and it’s very easy to get into. O’Reilly went after the arm, which Elgin sold well. He still hit his power based offense, but didn’t overuse the bad arm, which was appreciated. For example, he hit one-armed German suplexes. Elgin eventually fought off Kyle’s great attempts at wearing him down enough to win with the Elgin Bomb at 20:22. Another good match that told a smart, sensible story. David vs. Goliath. Elgin sold well, Kyle brought the wise offense and they meshed well.
This is one of the matches that I saw get mixed reviews. Both teams can be hit or miss at times for me. It felt like they both mostly missed here. The Bucks’ comedy stuff fell flat (as usual to me), while War Machine weren’t as crisp as they can be. One thing that usually works for PWG is that they put together a lot of matches we haven’t seen before, or often. That wasn’t the case here as we’ve seen these teams square off more than a few times. I also think it was placed in an odd spot. Because the Bucks are smaller, this match followed a David vs. Goliath form at times, which the previous match just did. Granted, it was done in different ways, but still a bit too redundant for me. The Bucks went on to win in 21:30 with a rollup, stealing it from their larger opponents. I wasn’t a big fan of this and much preferred their match at Honor Rising earlier this year.
Here we have one of those random, but intriguing matches PWG puts on. Sabre showed no respect to Togo right from the start. The best Sabre Jr. is arrogant Sabre Jr., which is what we got here. Also, Sabre obviously excels on the mat and that’s where most of this match took place. Both guys worked different body parts of the other, trying to gain an advantage. It’s Sabre’s wheelhouse, but Togo held his own and used it to combat the fact that he’s no longer as quick as he once was. His comeback attempts were well done and filled with fire. Sabre’s antagonistic style helped the crowd get invested. Sabre sold well, but I think Togo left a little to be desired there. At one point, he sold the ankle like he couldn’t stand, only to use it for offense shortly after. Sabre won with one of his signature bridging pins at 23:09. Like a lot of this show, I thought this went a bit long and was good, just not great. It’s not a style that works for everyone, though I enjoy mat work, so this was mostly fun for me.
Another match with mixed reviews so far. This stemmed from Taylor’s feud with Sabre, which also gave us the excellent Best Friends vs. LDRS match last month. Marty cut a promo before the match and also brought out a trash can filled with umbrellas. This felt like a fight between bitter rivals, which is a good thing. Taylor got to have a bit of a Rock moment, when he stopped to do commentary (I’M ABOUT TO KILL THIS DUDE FOR REAL) in the middle of the match. There was a lot of crowd brawling, including Taylor taking a big bump onto a bunch of open chairs. My favorite moment of the match came near the end. Referee Rick Knox had been knocked out and Scurll tried throwing powder in Taylor’s eyes. It was knocked back into his face and he accidentally snapped the fingers of the replacement ref. Taylor slammed Scurll onto thumbtacks but the referee’s hands were too hurt to count. It was such a great near fall. Taylor went for the chicken wing, only for Marty to fall back onto the tacks. Taylor withstood that pain and slapped the submission back on, winning at 18:41. The match of the night. A fun match that did a lot to continue Taylor’s push. There were some great spots and, as I pointed out, an awesome false finish that led to a top notch finish.
Overall: I found this to be a solid, consistent show. Nothing on it is quite on the “must-see” level, but there’s nothing bad. Nothing gets under **½ and nothing gets ****. The card was versatile for the most part with a good aerial battle early on, some big man/little man stuff, a mat based battle, an enjoyable brawl and a good old fashioned hoss fight. Most of the matches go a bit too long, but everything is solid. Not having guys like Pentagon and Trent, who have stood out on recent shows, hurt things a bit.