PWG Time is a Flat Circle
By Big Red Machine
From March 23, 2018
JOEY JANELA vs. REY HORUS - 6.75/10
Janela hit Horus with a chair right in front of the referee. The commentators, Excalibur and PWG SENIOR OFFICIAL RICK KNOX, struggled to justify why this was not a DQ before quickly giving up. Janela fell on his face a few times. Even though both wrestlers focused most of their offense on the other's head, it still kind of felt like a moves match. Janela kept his winning streak alive with a very impactful-looking Package Piledriver.
BRODY KING vs. DOUGLAS JAMES vs. ELI EVERFLY vs. JAKE ATLAS - 7/10
This started off really great. It was four relative unknowns getting their big with "name" indy and just, as Excalibur said, leaving it all out there in the ring. This felt special because the old "name" indies (ROH, PWG, IWA-MS, CZW, CHIKARA) have all either grown to the point where they're not really developing their own talent anymore (ROH, PWG) or have shrunk to the point where they rarely generate any buzz (the others), so this felt like something that used to be an indy staple that we hadn't seen in a long time. They did their spots (the spottiness over it played into that above story) and told a bit of a story using the size difference between King and the other three and it was really exciting and cool... and then they just kept going a little too long (with one or two big spots that clearly didn't go as planned) and all of a sudden it lost that special feeling and it was back to being yet another indy spotfest.
DEZMOND XAVIER & ZACHARY WENTZ vs. FLAMITA & BANDITO - 8/10
This was very much a Dragon Gate-style tag match (where these guys have all wrestled this year, so that makes sense) and I hadn't seen one in a while so it was quite fun and exciting. As for what makes this different from the previous match which felt like a spotfest... I'm not really sure, but it just kind of did. Maybe it being a tag match rather than a four-way so it felt like there was more back-and-forth rather than just guys doing stuff. That and the cool teamwork.
WILL OSPREAY vs. ADAM BROOKS - a PERFECT 10/10!
They established the story of this match early on with a spot where Ospreay tried to play the teasing veteran with Brooks on a break in the corner, and Brooks told him that he would be having none of that by turning it around on Ospreay and slapping him right in the face... after missing his first attempt at the slap simply because he just missed, which somehow actually made the whole thing better. From there Brooks became determined not just to beat Ospreay by any means necessary (including delving into increasingly heelish maneuvers as the match progressed) but also pay Ospreay back with similar in-ring disrespect.
The match continued on with pretty much every move focusing on someone's head. They did a lot of "new" spots that I'm sure you're going to be seeing a lot of people stealing in other matches from now on. One of my favorites came when Brooks pulled down his kneepad to hit Ospreay in the back of the head directly with his boney knee... and unlike every else who we've seen pull their kneepad down to make their knee strikes more vicious over the years, Brooks actually SOLD his knee afterwards because there was no padding to protect it when it make contact with Ospreay's skull. On top of all of this, they did a wonderful job of creating nearfalls that really sucked me in, allowing me to forget that New Japan almost certainly wouldn't let Ospreay lose for long enough to bite on their false finishes. In fact, in the moments that the commentary caused my thoughts to drift to New Japan, my first thought was always "someone get Gedo a tape of this match ASAP so he can add Brooks to Best of the Super Juniors! Another amazing match for Will Ospreay's amazing 2018, and a truly breakout performance for Adam Brooks.
All of that being said... booking this match was a total dick move by PWG. RevPro is pretty clearly building to this match, and PWG is capitalizing off of RevPro's build to scoop them on the match because RevPro is trying to tell a story while PWG doesn't care about stories so they can book any match at any time. And this isn't the first time PWG has done this either (Steen vs. Richards immediately jumps to mind).
JEFF COBB vs. JONAH ROCK - 7/10
This was a really great hoss fight until they took a random detour into everything I hate about puro, with them trading no-selling German Suplexes just for the sake of doing a bunch of fighting spirit spots, and going so overboard that it was impossible for me to take any of their throws seriously for the rest of the match. I liked some of the stuff they did after that, but the damage was already done and they failed to get me back into the match. Your mileage may vary.
ZACK SABRE JR. vs. MATT RIDDLE - 9/10
I think the best way to describe this match would be a "technical fight." They also did a wonderful job of building things up throughout and ramping up the tension. Riddle tried to beat Zack with the same reversal WALTER used back in October but Zack was able to counter it this time and pick up the win, showing that he has learned from this past mistake. I'd anticipate another Zack vs. WALTER match in PWG later this year. Just a hunch. But don't think about that right now. Just go watch this FANTASTIC match.
PWG WORLD TITLE MATCH:
Chuck Taylor(c) vs. Keith Lee - 6.5/10
This was a very odd match. It started off with Chuck Taylor getting booed and becoming extremely unhappy about it, grabbing the mic several times early on and letting the fans know. Chuck then made it his mission to beat Lee, who the fans were cheering, so Chuck was fighting hard to beat the much larger Lee, and yet Chuck was the heel so he took most of the match, which resulted in Lee not really feeling like the big, dominant force that he is. He really didn't feel like Keith Lee at all. He didn't get to do any of his personality spots. He was just a large dude for Chuck to try to angrily beat. This match felt like it was all about Chuck and thus there really wasn't much to get into when Lee made his comeback and won the belt. I am very interested to see where this Chuck Taylor stuff goes, though.
KEITH LEE PROMO - An awesome post-title win promo.
A pretty awesome show from PWG, brought down at the end by our main event world title match coming up short, but even that has quite the hook in the Chuck Taylor heel turn that seems to be solidifying. The wrestling was great all up and down the card, but it really feels like they put a bit more care into this show than usual. This was their first show in the new building, and because of that it felt like this show had a subtle theme of a combination of "new beginnings" and "back to our roots" that I thought was extremely poetic, and also worked well with the title they gave this show. While this certainly wasn't the best show PWG has put out over the past few years, it was probably my favorite. Between the Brooks vs. Ospreay classic, the consistent quality of the matches, and the history involved in this being both the first show in the new building and having a world title change, you should make sure you pick this one up.