Saturday, June 25, 2016

Summer of Wrestling 2016 #1 – PWG

Welcome to the first week of the Summer of Wrestling 2016. This is my third year doing this, but 2014 and 2015 were exclusively on my YouTube channel. This year, I’m making weekly posts right here at Pro Wrestling Smackdown. I posted this week on a Saturday, but you can expect updates in the beginning of the week like a Monday or Tuesday. Next week’s post might be up in a few days from now. Before I begin, I have included the rules below.

The Rules:

1. I will review 5 matches per week for 14 weeks (June 20 – September 19).
2. Every wrestling promotion is eligible for the Summer of Wrestling.
3. Every match I review must be a match I have never seen in its entirety before. If I can’t remember what happened in the match, it is eligible. Matches I’ve seen several times or know very well are not eligible for the Summer of Wrestling.
4. Not every match I watch this summer will be reviewed during the Summer of Wrestling. Matches from any upcoming wrestling show or Pay-Per-View are eligible if I watch them. The matches I review will be picked before I watch them.

My first week of the Summer of Wrestling will focus on PWG. I started watching Pro Wrestling Guerrilla in 2014 and now they are my favorite wrestling promotion. There’s a few matches from the shows I’ve collected that I haven’t seen yet so I’m watching them for the first time here.

1. Pro Wrestling Guerrilla World Tag Team Championship Three-Way Guerrilla Warfare Match - El Generico and Paul London vs. Brandon and Dustin Cutler vs. The Young Bucks (PWG Seven 07/30/10) *****

First match of the Summer of Wrestling and it’s a five star match. If you are a fan of PWG, you have probably heard of this match. Whenever I look at lists for the best PWG matches, this three-way Guerrilla Warfare match usually is on there. For those who do not know, a Guerrilla Warfare match is what PWG calls their no holds barred street fights. This was a crazy match with a lot of spots involving chairs, tables and garbage cans. It felt similar to the Hardy Boyz/Dudley Boyz/E&C TLC matches from the Attitude Era. I couldn’t think of a reason not to give them five stars so that’s why it got that rating. Also, it was the main event of the show. Not often does a tag team championship match headline a company’s anniversary show and this match deserved to go last. It’s one of the greatest spotfests in indie wrestling history.

2. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (PWG Battle of Los Angeles Night Three 08/31/14) ****1/4

I’m not the biggest Zack Sabre Jr. fan but I do enjoy his work. Kyle O’Reilly is someone I enjoy watching very much so I was excited to see this match. I was not disappointed. This was a quarterfinal match in the 2014 Battle of Los Angeles tournament. This was very competitive going back-and-forth. It had great performances by both men. The only thing that prevented this rating from going higher was that these two guys had no rivalry going into the match and it was only a quarterfinal match in the tournament. I wish I could have been a little more emotionally invested in the match, but it’s still a high-end ****1/4 match.

3. Adam Cole and The Young Bucks vs. ACH, Brian Myers, Chris Sabin (PWG Battle of Los Angeles Night Three 08/31/14) ***1/2

I decided to watch this match because I liked the participants. The Young Bucks and Adam Cole are amazing and I also enjoy watching ACH, Myers (formerly known as Curt Hawkins) and Chris Sabin (from the Motor City Machine Guns). I’m a huge fan of the PWG six-man tag team matches. In my opinion, that is PWG’s signature match type and no other promotion does it better. So I had high hopes for this match and I was disappointed. First of all, this match went only 11 minutes which is not the worst thing because you can have great matches in under 15 minutes, but I think more time would have been better here. The main problem I have with this match is that the comedy got a little too silly and I feel like this match never went into a second gear. What I like about PWG matches is that it feels like everyone is trying to steal the show no matter where they are on the card and I felt like this match wasn’t trying to do that. It’s still an enjoyable match, but I was expecting it to be a little bit better. It's a low-end ***1/2 match.

4. Cedric Alexander, Biff Busick, Tommaso Ciampa, Bobby Fish, and Drew Gulak vs. Chris Hero, Willie Mack, Joey Ryan, Rich Swann, and Chuck Taylor (PWG Battle of Los Angeles Night Three 08/31/14) ***1/2

5. Tommaso Ciampa, Timothy Thatcher, Mark Andrews, Drago, and Andrew Everett vs. Chuck Taylor, Trent?, Drew Galloway, Drew Gulak, and Aerostar (PWG Battle of Los Angeles Final Stage 08/30/15) ***3/4

These next two matches are two of the most famous tag team matches in PWG BOLA recent history. Both of them are known for their slow motion spots. I had not seen either match yet so I thought they would be great editions to this year’s Summer of Wrestling. Unlike other reviewers who won’t grade these matches because of the ridiculousness, I did give a star rating to both matches. Instead of reviewing them individually, I’m doing one review. I enjoy comedy matches but the comedy was a little too much for me. The slow motion sequences were cool, but I felt they were a little bit overrated. I enjoyed the second match a little bit more than the first match because the 2015 match had a little bit more wrestling than the 2014 match. I like Ciampa a lot and although he’s good at the comedy wrestling, I think he’s too talented to be in these matches. I’m not going to complain about Drew Galloway, Aerostar, Drago, Thatcher and Drago being in the second match because even though comedy is not their style, they were great and made the match more enjoyable. There are very few bad matches in PWG so I enjoyed both of them, but probably a little bit less than most people. I’m guessing they were a lot more enjoyable live and I think watching these matches several months after it happened might have made the experience less enjoyable.

Top 5 Matches of the Summer:

1. Pro Wrestling Guerrilla World Tag Team Championship Three-Way Guerrilla Warfare Match - El Generico and Paul London vs. Brandon and Dustin Cutler vs. The Young Bucks (PWG Seven 07/30/10) *****
2. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (PWG Battle of Los Angeles Night Three 08/31/14) ****1/4
3. Tommaso Ciampa, Timothy Thatcher, Mark Andrews, Drago, and Andrew Everett vs. Chuck Taylor, Trent?, Drew Galloway, Drew Gulak, and Aerostar (PWG Battle of Los Angeles Final Stage 08/30/16) ***3/4
4. Adam Cole and The Young Bucks vs. ACH, Brian Myers, Chris Sabin (PWG Battle of Los Angeles Night Three 08/31/14) ***1/2
5. Cedric Alexander, Biff Busick, Tommaso Ciampa, Bobby Fish, and Drew Gulak vs. Chris Hero, Willie Mack, Joey Ryan, Rich Swann, and Chuck Taylor (PWG Battle of Los Angeles Night Three 08/31/14) ***1/2

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