By Big Red Machine
From January 12, 2018
DAVID STARR vs. FRED YEHI - 6.5/10
A match-up between two men making their PWG debuts is a great way to start off a Mystery Vortex show because it emphasizes the "mystery" aspect of the night. This match was kind of weird. The wrestling stuff all worked, but the story they told somehow didn't click with it. That story was kind of what you'd expect from these two, with Starr being his dickish, heel self while Yehi kept getting more pissed off at Starr's antics, but while you got that sense verbally, it didn't really translate into the way they were wrestling the match. None of Yehi's non-verbal responses gave me the feeling that he was getting angrier.
JOEY JANELA vs. "FLASH" MORGAN WEBSTER - 4.5/10
So Janela can't use a chair but Webster can put a football helmet on and then then to spear Janela? This match was just these guys doing their big spots and some stalling.
REY FENIX vs. SAMMY GUEVARA - 6.75/10
This was a very good flips match.
ZACK SABRE JR. vs. KEITH LEE - 8.25/10
They told a wonderful story of Zack's technique vs. Lee's size, but they did an excellent job of making it feel different from the Zack vs. WALTER match from last fall.
MARTY SCURLL vs. TRENT? - 8.5/10
This was a pretty darn awesome match with a really, really clever finish. I've never liked the "he got blinded but did it on instinct alone" thing, but these two came up with just about the only combination of moves to make it make sense. Unfortunately referee Rick Knox screwed up by looking too early and then had to cover himself and look away for no reason so they could do the powder spot.
PWG WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The Chosen Bros(c) vs. RingKampf (Timothy Thatcher & WALTER) - 8.75/10
Grappling! Striking! Intensity! Suplexes! This was everything I dreamed it would be!
GUERRILLA WARFARE MATCH FOR THE PWG WORLD TITLE:
Ricochet(c) vs. Chuck Taylor - 9/10
Ricochet nailed Chuck with the belt during the introductions and then scrambled to get the quick pin on him, which was a great way to start off the match... except for the fact that between the belt shot and going for the pin, Ricochet first insisted on wasting time taking off his ring jacket. It was very weird.
The match was very exciting full of crazy bumps and weapon shots and all of that stuff and the crowd was very into it, but it didn't really feel to me like they were building to anything. There wasn't so much a progressing story being told as you were just waiting for the spot that someone didn't kick out of. Without a story, there are only so many chairshots and thumbtack bumps you can see before you start hitting the point of diminishing returns.
I also hated the booking here. Putting the belt right back on Chuck Taylor completely destroys the storytelling potential of him working so hard and so long to finally win the title and then lose it in his first defense. I get that Ricochet is leaving, but that doesn't mean you have to put the belt right back on Chuck. And with hindsight it's quite clear that PWG had no interest in Chuck as a long-term champion (Keith Lee just won the belt) so there wasn't even a reason to put the belt right back on him. Have Ricochet lose it to someone else, then have that guy lose it right away to Lee, and now you've got a built-in storyline for Lee's first defense because the past three champions have lost the belt ion their first defense. Stick Lee against a guy on a winning streak and you've got something exciting.
This was a pretty darn great show from PWG, but it was one of those shows that makes it clear that last year's storytelling with Chuck Taylor was an aberration and the promotion is just going back to their usual strategy of just booking guys who are hot and throwing them together without any real care.