Pro Wrestling Guerilla’s 200th show also happens to be my two-year anniversary going to PWG, so you know excitement was in the air for this one. I’ve been fortunate and blessed to witness the most consistent brand of professional wrestling each and every time out. PWG 200 was no different. Despite some awkward “bumps ‘n bruises”, it was a night at downtown LA’s Globe Theater that pleased all– well, perhaps not the hardest of Hot Topic shoppers hoping for a certain “Elite” tag team invasion. (Me.)
That said, let’s get on with it!
Jungle Boy v Jake Atlas v Trey Miguel – With the sad news of his star actor dad’s recent stroke, it was much to the delight of the PWG faithful to see Jungle Boy in action. It shows a lot about the young AEW signee to show up and perform through the hardest of times. Overall, this was a fun opener. Trey Miguel (of Impact Wrestling’s Rascalz) showed signs of Ricochet 2.0, with lots of Matrix dodges and sensational dives. The returning Jake Atlas arguably looked the most impressive of the three, at one point reversing a top rope Jungle Boy attempt into a great spinning backbreaker. Atlas then followed with a brief cartwheel on the ropes into a tornado DDT. Despite a few blips, Jungle Boy had his share of innovative moves– including his crucifix driver for the finish. Sky’s the limit on this kid. 3.25/5
Puma King v Laredo Kid – Puma King continues to win over crowds with his charisma. The match was off to an enthralling start, featuring an assortment of sunset flips and moonsaults– especially one mighty “extra” springboard to the outside from Laredo Kid. Puma wouldn’t be outdown, either, firing back with a terrific flying legdrop. Move of the match: Laredo hit a killer swanton from the top of the post to the outside!! Puma later teased an electric chair drop from the 2nd buckle but to the crowd’s dismay, Laredo reversed into a half ass power bomb. Thankfully, the final stretch was solid and Puma won via stretch muffler. 3.5/5
Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent?) v Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) – Worst match of the night and still “pretty good”. There was just a bit too much comedy shenanigans and “funny stuff” with the crowd; you could sense half of us losing interest and having our own conversations until the last 5-6 minutes. Despite a number of great double team moves, Aussie Open went heavily misused. They took comedy heat for the majority of the match, and Davis botching a double scoop slam didn’t help AO’s cause either. In the end, the tag match was uneven and went on a little loo long (20 minutes). 3/5
Brody King v Darby Allin – My friend Max called this “Goth versus Metal”, and boy did it live up to that! Main event aside, this was my favorite match of the night. Fuck, there was a coffin dive from the balcony! You can sense Brody getting more comfortable as a performer, especially in these “David v Goliath” type match-ups. Darby was great, too. He hit a hell of a sunset flip bomb on Brody from the top, and took a pair of wild apron bumps, including a backflip from a chokeslam and an insane spike piledriver! Best of all: Darby flew off the top rope onto a SKATEBOARD onto the back of Brody! Crowd went apeshit. Allin would follow with a quick coffin dive to a false finish. Brody eventually powerbombed Darby ONTO the skateboard and followed with a sitdown piledriver. Just crazy. 3.75/5
Jonathan Gresham v David Starr – As if Starr’s infamous introduction wasn’t already long enough, the mic cut out during Christian Cole’s intro… The first 7-8 minutes of this went as expected: lots of good WRESTLINGGGG. While excellent, this wasn’t for everybody. The crowd on one side of the ring didn’t react much at all. That is, until Starr destroyed Gresham with a powerbomb to his knee! That false finish got these guys — and the crowd — into second gear. Gresham later hit a lighting fast tope con helo, but couldn’t capitalize, landing his 480 attempt onto Starr’s knees. But the “Octopus” kept at the arm and ultimately finished Starr with his signature stretch while digging some sharp elbows to the ribs for the submission. Great match. 3.75-4/5
PWG World Tag Team Titles: The Rascalz (Zachary Wentz & Dezmond Xavier) v Lucha Brothers (Penta el OM & Rey Fenix) v LAX (Ortiz & Santana) – Great sprint that sadly only went ten due to a botched(?) finish. We think. The anticlimactic finish, which still saw The Rascalz hit their “hot fire flame” (an assisted standing moonsault), had heel ref Justin calling the three-count when Santana and Penta couldn’t break up the pin in time. We think. Oddly, the losers still attempted to pull Justin from the count, but Justin counted 3 anyway. Who knows. What I do know is that the finish killed a would-be killer match (i.e. incredible coast-to-coast dropkick from Fenix; a tornado twisting save from Xavier after twin cutter reversals on Lucha Bros from LAX, etc.). The crowd hated the abrupt end, and it actually softened up the excitement for the main event– especially when the Young Bucks never showed up (nor were they supposed to, but whatever). – 3.5/5
PWG World Title: Jeff Cobb v Bandido – The crowd eventually got back to their senses once Bandido stretched Cobb out in a powerbomb like cradle, raising both arms underneath Cobb’s torso. The champ powered out and hit a vicious lariat to an arousing ovation as both men hit the canvas.. After a wild series of dives and reversals from Bandido, PWG’s “Rey Mysterio” teased his signature moonsault slam from the top (which would have been the most insane thing ever!), but as Cobb reversed, Bandido hit a wild RANA. Soon after, both men exhanged brainbusters (Cobb hit his off the second turnbuckle)! Bandido also caught a flying crossbody from Cobb — yes, I’m typing this correctly — and then powerslammed him to sheer amazement. Spot of the match: after Cobb’s Matt Riddle/Okadaesque twirling tombstone, Bandido countered Cobb’s 2nd attempt into a modified flipping/sitdown driver thingy! Yeah! Even Mauro Renallo wouldn’t have a clue. After a Cobb splash and standing moonsault, ‘Dido nailed a sliced bread on ths apron. Cobb later landed on his feet after Bandido’s signature springboard german attempt and won via Tour of the Islands. Just outstanding. 4.25/5
Overall = 3.5/5 Bibles
#PWG200 was, yet again, another very strong show from the independent wrestling company that may have seen a temporary goodbye to three of its biggest stars in Bandido, Fenix and Pentagon. It was great to see both big men Brody King and Jeff Cobb show far more charisma and comfort than their past PWG’s. A collision between the two ROH stars seems inevitable. Gresham is also getting super over in LA, and a title shot looks to be coming in his not-so-distant future. Overall, it wasn’t a perfect night and early rumblings of a Young Bucks appearance definitely hurt fan expectations. Still, PWG Two Hundred showed the wrestling world that, despite losing a surplus of talent, this indie staple should have no problem lighting shit up for the next 100 shows and beyond.
P.S. Some pics taken by me and others taken by random pals on Twitter 🙂 @RobBishopSD @FRRHayabusa @socaluncensored etc.