Pruett's PWG Matt Rushmore Review - The Mount Rushmore of Wrestling faction is established, Candice LeRae steals the show, Gargano and Strong impress, and more!
By Will Pruett
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla - Matt Rushmore
October 19, 2013 at The American Legion Hall in Reseda, CA
This show actually began before 9:00pm, which is pretty early for PWG. It began with Excalibur making his normal opening speech, where he reminded people not to tailgate (apparently some fans had been caught again, which is dumb; they should know better), to move if a wrestler flies towards them, and to recycle.
Before Excalibur could leave, Mount Rushmore (Kevin Steen, Adam Cole, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson) came out with empty cans and bottles and spread them around the ring. Excalibur was angry, because recycling is his life's passion and the heel foursome collectively belittled it. The heels intimidated Excalibur until Steen saved him, saying he needs him to do commentary later.
Once Excalibur was gone, the four men addressed their opponents for the evening while also performing a multitude of NWO mannerisms and catchphrases. It was great fun.
1. Willie Mack and B-Boy defeated PPRay (Peter Avalon and Ray Rosas). This match really surprised me. I rarely enjoy matches featuring B-Boy and Willie Mack has really regressed since his brief PWG main event run a year ago. All of this said, all four men worked hard and worked the crowd into a frenzy with this effort. PPRay used heel tactics, such as a golden fanny pack (which may have been loaded with a nefarious object) and being small. Mack and B-Boy impressed with babyface fire the crowd really responded to. B-Boy pinned Rosas to finish off a good opener.
2. Kevin Steen defeated ACH. Kevin Steen entered to Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" and was sporting Ultimate Warrior tassels on his arms and legs. This is why I love PWG. This was my first time seeing ACH live and I was really impressed with his performance. This match was all about ACH taking a beating from the newly heel Steen and coming back, showing fire, then being cut off again. Steen powerbombed the heck out of ACH multiple times. Steen ended up winning with the Package Piledriver.
When the match was over, Steen gave ACH three more Package Piledrivers.
3. Best Friends (Trent? and Chuck Taylor) defeated A.R. Fox and Rich Swann. This match was a ton of fun (which, I know, is how I address most PWG matches, but it is completely true). Fox and Swann brought their awesome brand of athleticism to the match, while Taylor and Trent brought the comedy. All four men brought great ability. Trent fits in really well in the PWG environment. It's a treat to see him on this level. This tag match built to a crescendo with Taylor hitting a Piledriver-esque maneuver on Fox to pin him.
4. Drake Younger defeated Brian Cage, Tony Nese, and Tommaso Ciampa in a four way match. This was the insane spotfest special of the evening and it was fun, yet mindless. All four men got a chance to show off a little with Brian Cage rocking his feats of strength, Tony Nese showing his athleticism, Tommaso Ciampa proving his insanity, and Drake a Younger performing his crowd-pleasing offense for the adoring throng in Reseda. When the dust and cavalcade of near-falls settled, Drake won by hitting Ciampa with the Cop Killer.
Intermission. T-shirts were sold. Beer was purchased. Fresh air was acquired.
5. Johnny Gargano defeated Roderick Strong. This was the best wrestling match of the night. Both men started off a little slow with some methodical technical wrestling (and a little bit of comedy as the crowd begged Roddy to "Chop dat hoe"). They built the match really nicely and the crowd was with both men every step of the way. Submissions were traded. Finishers were performed. Near falls were closely contested. Finally, after a great match which should absolutely be seen, Gargano forced Strong to tap out with the Gargano Escape. They shook hands after the match. It was awesome.
6. The Young Bucks defeated Candice LeRae and Joey Ryan to retain the PWG Tag Team Championships. While Gargano vs. Strong was a great wrestling match, this match wins my Match of the Night honors for some great storytelling. The Bucks were the evil tag team while LeRae and Joey Ryan rocked the babyface side of things. Multiple times, it seemed like Ryan and LeRae could get the job done, but The Bucks kept escaping. For most of the match, LeRae played the babyface in peril and gained a ton of sympathy from the crowd. Her performance stole the show for me and it may have been the best performance of her career.
The Young Bucks won this match, finally hitting More Bang for Your Buck on Candice. I would love to see a rematch between these teams.
7. Adam Cole defeated Kyle O'Reilly to retain the PWG World Championship. This match was good, but a little disappointing coming off of a great wrestling match and a great wrestling/storytelling match. I believe the crowd felt it too. While they cheered for O'Reilly in this clash of the former Future Shock members, they did so with some trepidation. This was the match where most fans were waiting for the run-ins, and they got them. The other three members of Mount Rushmore interfered and Cole won after Steen delivered the Package Piledriver to O'Reilly.
After the match, the beating on O'Reilly continued until a babyface contingent of PWG wrestlers (including Gargano, Younger, Taylor, Trent, and others) ran them off. Johnny Gargano then cut a promo from amongst the wrestlers. He pandered a little bit to the PWG crowd (which did not work as well as one might expect) and challenged Cole to a title match on the next show. The crowd vocally responded saying O'Reilly deserves another shot and showing support for Drake Younger as well. Both men endorsed Gargano as a challenger though.
The show ended with no return date announced.
Pruett's Pause: Another month, another great live show from Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. It's a combination of a great roster, good explosive storytelling, and a unique and diverse crowd combining to make every show feel special. I've said it many times over, but I have to emphasize how there is no live experience in wrestling even close to watching PWG in Reseda.
This show was focussed in establishing the heel faction formed last month and it did so. Cole, Steen, and The Bucks are wildly entertaining, but are keeping themselves as heel as they can. I definitely recommend purchasing this show once it is released on DVD especially for the Tag Championship match and Gargano vs. Strong.
For some pictures and in-process thoughts from the show, along with all sorts of other wrestling and non-wrestling fun, hit me up on the Twitter machine at @itswilltime. Thanks for reading homies!
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