JONAH ROCK vs. ADAM BROOKS - 2.25/10
This was not good. It was your typical 2017 indy stuff like a big guy who can do all sorts of flips and random comedy with this small guy showing off his muscles against the clearly bigger, stronger man, and always blowing his advantage when he does, all combined with a bunch of random moves strung together that never felt like they were building to anything so much as it felt like they were just trying to be "exciting!" by having each guy hit a big move and get a nearfall, then have the next thing they try get reversed and back and forth what felt like forever. I also hated the spot where Brooks shoved the referee into the ropes to crotch Rock on the top because rather than claiming it was an accident like you're supposed to, Brooks did what appears to be his signature taunt where he points to his head to say "look at how smart I am." That's pretty much admitting to the referee that you pushed him on purpose, which should be a DQ, so why wasn't it one? And if you're Adam Brooks, why would you do it?
THE YOUNG BUCKS vs. "FLASH" MORGAN WEBSTER & MARK HASKINS - DUD!
We started off with a great sequence between Nick Jackson and "Flash" Morgan Webster that ended in a perfectly executed indy stand-off spot and it was really fun and cool and exciting... and then Matt Jackson and Mark Haskins ran into the ring and did a completely cartoonish stand-off right next to them and totally killed it for me. I saw an excellent professional wrestling sequence, and these two ran into the ring and MOCKED it. For no reason other than to get a laugh.
Then they did the spot where the Bucks offer their opponents a handshake even though everyone- including the babyfaces- know that they're just going to attack them so no one ever does it, but the Bucks always try to get them to do one anyway. The babyfaces, as usual in this situation now, respond by offering to 2 Sweet the Bucks, which of course the Bucks can't do because of WWE legal reasons, so the Bucks get upset. This makes the Bucks look like babies for pouting all because they can't do their stupid 1990's rip-off shtick anymore, and yet also manages to make the babyfaces look like dicks for rubbing it in. And, of course, the fans (inexplicably) love Bullet Club's antics, so doing this gets the babyfaces heavily booed. In other words, this pointless grinds the match to a halt in order to do something that is completely counter-productive on multiple levels.
But do you know what it does do? It keeps the idea fresh in the fans' minds that those mean old meanies in WWE have taken Bullet Club's shtick away from them and that's not fair (for some reason) and therefore we should all feel sorry for Bullet Club and maybe buy ourselves one of their "Cease and Desist" t-shirts. They say Triple H and Hulk Hogan are the two greatest politicians in the history of professional wrestling, but Nick & Matt Jackson are numbers three and four.
Now Rick Knox.. THE REFEREE is 2 Sweeting the babyfaces. So we've shown are referee to be biased- and not only biased but biased AGAINST THE HEELS- and once again it's all for the sake of a pop. And while that's happening the Bucks attack the babyfaces from behind, which generates no heat because the babyfaces put themselves in that vulnerable situation by being both dicks and idiots.
The whip the babyfaces off the ropes, then the babyfaces but them in mirroring Octopus Holds and make them 2 Sweet each other. Why? Isn't that what the Bucks want to be able to do? Why not just do the hold properly and try to win the wrestling match?
The Bucks then did their stupid "X boots" sh*t in the corner, and of course the crowd reacts to this like the Bucks are babyfaces and they play along and for the life of me I can't understand why. It's like CHIKARA comedy except it's not even remotely clever. When they ran out of their own boots, Marty Scurll came out to help them. The referee made no effort to stop him. Marty spend a good fifteen seconds dancing around on the apron and making a big show of getting into position... and meanwhile Mark Haskins is just standing there on the apron and yelling rather than trying to help his partner. I want my babyfaces to obey the rules more than most people do, but when you've got a situation like this where things are so clearly out of hand and the referee isn't doing a f*cking thing to stop it, you are perfectly justified in running with a f*cking tag.
Marty blatantly interfering in this match was, of course, not a DQ. They want more boots, so they drag the referee over and supposedly get him stuck in the corner so his boots are now added to the pile. Dragging the referee is also not a DQ... but Mark Haskins is still waiting there on the apron for a tag.
Webster reverses it this time, sending Jackson into all of the boots, and the fans, who had been cheering Bullet Club's stupid bullsh*t this whole time, now cheer for their move getting reversed as well because they're really just here to laugh and do their chants and they don't actually care who wins or loses.
Anyway, the Bucks wind up on in the aisle after this, which is on the same side of the ring as Webster and Morgan's corner. Webster, who they had wanted me to believe was just too injured that he couldn't make it to his corner no matter how much time Bullet Club wasted milking the crowd in between boots spots, desperately dove over to his corner and tagged in his partner, right? Of course not! He did a f*cking dive, because "OMG GUYS HOW COOL WOULD IT BE IF INSTEAD OF MAKING THE TAG I DID A BIG DIVE FIRST?!" "Yeah! That'd be awesome! Don't worry about psychology because it's a Young Bucks match in a PWG ring so Uncle Dave is going to give it at least **** by default."
Anyway, now Webster gets back into the ring (with help from Haskins because now he's supposed to be hurt again) and makes the tag and Webster gets one of the Bucks in the ring and starts beating him up and I'm supposed to take this seriously after eight minutes of hokey cartoon bullsh*t? F*CK. OFF.
We got some serious wrestling until it was time for more goofy sh*t to happen. Webster wore a helmet and the referee did nothing to stop him. The Bucks hit Haskins with an IndyTaker but rather than just pin him they decided to roll him over and lock in a sharpshooter. Why? So that Webster could try something off the top only to get superkicked and mid-air and he would get locked into a sharpshooter to just so he and Haskins could give each other a f*cking 2 Sweet before tapping out. F*ck this stupid sh*t.
Meanwhile, Mark Meltzer (Dave's alter-ego that comes out whenever he's at a PWG or New Japan show) sits there thinking to himself that this utter bullsh*t that he would have buried if it took place in any other company's ring (even NJPW, in think case, I think)- especially WWE or TNA- deserves a rating of ****1/4. After watching this match I read Dave's review of the match in the Observer, and seeing how much bullsh*t he just totally ignores (he skips right from the end of the boots spot to the very end of the finishing sequence, ignoring, among other things, the helmet bullsh*t and a Meltzer Driver getting reversed so that one of the Bucks took it, made me physically ill.
There is a grown woman in the back row who brought her Darryl Takahashi stuffed animal to a show that Hiromu isn't even on. She's probably the type of jerk who chants "TEN!" when Tye Dillinger isn't around and chants "SWEET!" after the two count of every pinfall. Oh. And she's wearing a Bullet Club shirt. MAKE UP YOUR MIND, LADY! You can either support Hiromu by having a Darryl doll, or you can support the faction of the dastardly Bad Luck Fale who destroyed Darryl for literally no reason. Not both.
JOEY JANELA vs. MARTY SCURLL - 3.5/10
Before the match Marty accused Janela of being "nothing but a pathetic spot monkey," which 1) is a term that doesn't make any sense in kayfabe, and 2) is quite the criticism to throw out there after that last match.
Hitting the opponent with a chair is not a DQ in this match for some reason. Neither is pushing the referee down. In fact, everything that happened with the referee in this match was totally unnecessary, and all of it was done for the sake of getting a pop out of the referee shoving Marty into a roll-up by Janela. Because we need to put effort into getting the f*cking referee over as a babyface badass.
Stuff happened and a Package Piledriver got kicked out of because that's a thing where randomly kicking out of in the middle of matches nowadays apparently. We got a double-down on the outside and this time we tease a count-out even though the referee didn't count the last time they were on the outside. And all to tease a count-out that no one is going to believe anyway.
They did a spot where they put some chairs in the ring and rather than his usual finger-breaking thing, Marty put Janela's fingers between two set-up chairs and they wanted me to believe that Janela was somehow unable to simply move his fingers before Marty cocked back and kicked the one chair into the other (which, by the way, would hurt a lot less than Marty's usual finger-breaking spot would have).
They had one clever spot, which was Janela putting his feet on one of the chairs during a pinfall for theoretically legal additional leverage. The match ended soon thereafter when Scurll tossed Janela off the top rope, back-first onto the four set-up chairs, then made him tap out to the Crossface Chickenwing, which targets a totally part of your body, making Janela's big bump basically meaningless, proving Marty right that he is, in fact, a spot-monkey.
ZACK SABRE JR. vs. WALTER - 9.25/10
AMAZING! There was a lot of stuff going on, but it all worked together to make a fantastic whole. The most obvious thing was that there was a definitely pride issue here, with neither man wanting to stay down and both wanting to prove that they could take the other's best shot and stay standing, but the opening spot- they went for some basic mat wrestling and WALTER rather simply powered Zack up and just dumped him down- help to seed this little element of the size factor into that other story. It wasn't just two guys saying "I'm not going to let this other guy get the best of me;" it was Zack saying "there's no way I'm going to let this big guy beat me because then everyone will think that any guy who has the same wrestling skill as me but is bigger than me like WALTER or Cobb or Jack Swagger will be able to beat me because of their size" and WALTER saying "there's no way I'm going to lose to this little pipsqueak! We're both great wrestlers but I'm bigger than him so I should win." While it wasn't a big, in your face part of the story, they always did things like WALTER deadlifting Zack or powering out of his moves to remind you that size was a factor here, no matter how much Zack tried to make up for it by hitting WALTER extremely hard.
Another way they emphasized that part of the story was Zack selling WALTER's chops much bigger than WALTER sold Zack's. This played into the second story, which was Zack working on WALTER's hand and wrist, which were already damaged from accidentally chopping a ringpost last night. As the match wore on, WALTER's chops started to take more and more out of him as well as out of Zack, as each massively hard chop he threw (to keep up with the hard strikes Zack was throwing) did more and more damage to his own hand.
The third and final story was WALTER going for his Gojira Clutch, which Zack managed to avoid a few times before WALTER locked it in and that was the end for Zack. The rest of the story being what it was, I was surprised that Zack tapped out rather than passed out in the hold, but Zack is the kind of guy who seems to be okay with knowing when he is beaten and acting accordingly.
MATT SYDAL vs. REY HORUS vs. TRENT? - 6/10
So they did this spot where Sydal hit Trent? with an enzugiri and Trent? fell right into the pin on Rey Horus and the referee went down to count one, two... and the he just stopped counting and got up because Sydal wasn't ready to hit his moonsault yet. What a wonderful little microcosm of indy wrestling (and PWG in particular) focusing so much on doing things that look cool that they have begun to totally ignore making sure that things make sense. If I'm the booker, I would have immediately fired Trent?, Rey Horus, and the referee.
Chairshots are okay in this match, too. This was a bunch of spots strung together that managed to be decently exciting by the end despite some embarrassing timing issues.
PWG WORLD TITLE MATCH: Chuck Taylor(c) vs. Ricochet - 7.5/10
The story of this match was Ricochet working on Chuck's knee and Chuck's continued resilience, not wanting to lose his title in his first defense after having spent so many years trying to win it. Well... mostly. I say that because there was one sort segment of the match- about four minutes out of a half-hour marathon- where it felt like we were warped into an alternate dimension and all of a sudden Chuck was the heel and Ricochet was the babyface, with Chuck taking the top rope down just so he could choke Ricochet with it (I realize that this was a callback to the Chuck vs. Zack Sabre Jr. title match, but I don't think the spot made any sense in context).
The other thing that really bothered me in this match was the restart, which made NO SENSE. The only reason Knox would have to "overrule" the finish would be if he saw Ricochet do something illegal like using the title belt as a weapon, but if that was the case then the proper response isn't to restart the match, it's to change the finish a DQ victory for Chuck Taylor.
I think the reason they did the restart was to make people think there was no way Ricochet would win, in order to make it more surprising when he did. Personally, I think it was totally unnecessary because any title change in someone's first defense- especially a beloved babyface who has just won the belt after years of questing for it- is going to be surprising, and even if it wasn't, they should have found another way to do it (maybe have Knox award Chuck the win via DQ but have Chuck refuse and say he doesn't want to win by DQ).
Despite not usually disliking short title reigns, I do actually like the title change here. Chuck Taylor is a guy who I think works better as a babyface when he's chasing the belt, and winning the title after so many years just to lose it in his first defense sets up a lot of different directions you can go with him afterwards.
A mostly-terrible show from PWG saved by a FANTASTIC match between Zack and WALTER as well as an important (and well-wrestled) and main event. Hopefully the next show will have a more regular PWG crew (although I obviously wouldn't mind WALTER coming back).