Written by: Jim
All Star Weekend 8 – Night Two
May 28, 2011
Kenny King vs Brian Cage-Taylor w/Chuck Taylor
Chuckie T was injured in the match with King the previous night, but he’s still out there providing us with his fun antics. Pretty simple structure with King unable to be in charge for long before Chuck Taylor interferes or distracts him to allow Cage to regain the advantage. Sorta odd booking at the end with King never gaining revenge on Taylor, but he’s still able to win with a stiff kick to Cage’s face that drew blood and his STO variation for the win. I suppose all of the interference would allow Rhett Titus to come into PWG to give us ANX vs Fighting Taylors and maybe an eventual six man once Ryan Taylor interfered, but was there much of a need with King winning tonight? The star of the match was Brian Cage-Taylor, once again proving he’s far better than his low card status would lead you to believe. He had one great move where he stuck King’s head on the other side of the top rope and then quickly pulled King’s arm so the side of his face would smack against the top rope. While King wasn’t as disappointing as he was against Chuck on Night 1, he didn’t do himself any favors in being booked in PWG again anytime soon. Pretty underwhelming two nights for him. The match on the other hand was pretty solid for an opening match due to Cage and Chuckie’s antics. 3 Stars.
Nightmare Violence Connection vs RockNES Monsters
I love that RockNES Monsters instantly jumped Steen to bring the hate based on Steen’s attack on them back at Kurt RussellReunion II. It helped put them over as more than just a couple of highflyers who loves their SPOTZ. The first half was tons of fun with the Monsters upping the intensity, Steen being a dick and Tozawa as the crazy mofo that we’ve grown to love. Since his PWG debut, Tozawa went from a random Puro guy to a guy full of charisma, intensity and antics. I’m not really into Dragon Gate, but he’s one guy I love. The match would have benefited from shaving 3-5 minutes off as all four guys looked exhausted at the end. As a result, despite an amazing first half, the final few minutes just felt like a string of random moves. For the second night in a row, Johnny Yuma is booked as a total underdog star by taking some unbelievable punishment, but hanging in there for awhile. Being pinned by a Package Piledriver on the ring apron was a fitting end. I love PWG‘s concentration on getting Yuma over. Fix the second half of the match and you’d have a PWG tag team MOTYC. With the issues though, it’s just 3 1/2 Stars.
After the match, Kevin Steen puts over RockNES Monsters and apologizes to them for his previous actions. Steen puts over Tozawa as he just finished up his last PWG match for the time being. The Young Bucks run out and attacks both men. Chris Hero, who was providing commentary, made the save to run the Bucks out. Thus, the Steen/Bucks feud has started. Chris Hero gets on the mic and challenges Tozawa to one last match later tonight.
Willie Mack vs Ricochet
The battle of the two breakout stars of 2011. Much to my surprise, the crowd wasn’t too into Ricochet here. I suppose it’s because the crowd loves Willie Mack so much, but still, Ricochet is the guy who out popped El Generico last year. The match is unexpectedly slow pace early on with very few high risk moves. Instead, both guys choose to use the ground and pound strategy. Once the spots finally came, Willie more than delivered. He hit one running shooting star press that was an early move of the night. Once again, Ricochet didn’t live up to my expectations by not hitting his moves as well as he could. For the first time in PWG, Ricochet had an off night. Despite losing to a shooting star press, Willie was clearly the star of the match. After just a few shows in PWG, Mack has mastered the undercard match, it’s now time for him to step up and prove that he can deliver some MOTN’s so he can be deserving of a main event spot. 3 1/4 Stars.
The Dynasty vs The Cutlers
The Cutlers final match in PWG. The first half plays out like a regular tag team match before breaking down with all four guys in the ring. It never gets as wild as your typical Bucks match though. The Cutlers are probably the most hated than they’ve ever been. Shockingly, Dustin Cutler even rips on Randy Savage after a top rope double ax handle failed to win them the match. He referred to the move as “That dead man’s move”. Way to stay classy. Besides losing his baby fat, Dustin became a hell of an in ring worker though. Besides being booked as a beast, all of Dustin’s moves were done without mistakes. On the other hand, Brandon managed to either botch or sloppily perform all of his big moves. For a final match, Brandon hardly went out on a high note. This wasn’t anything great, but it went by faster than the Gen Next/Cutlers match and had more heat to it. With the Dynasty winning with Dustin tapping out to Scorpio’s knee bar submission, Dynasty finishes up their weekend reunion 2-0. 3 Stars.
El Generico vs Eddie Edwards
Having Kevin Steen commentate El Generico matches is both a blessing and a curse. It’s great because I find the commentating so entertaining, but sometimes I find myself zoning out of the visuals while paying attention to only what Steen says. Steen adds a lot to the match though. Even though PWG doesn’t have nearly the build-up that ROH has, the commentating helps add to the Generico/Steen PWG feud, which helps once we get to their matches together. The knee work to Generico was well done and I dug how Generico had to change his strategy to cope with a bum knee. Despite forgetting about the knee near the end, they brought it all back to that story with Edwards forcing Generico to tap out with the half Boston Crab. Once again, Edwards emotionless fighting spirit spots does little to interest me. If only he’d show some sort of emotional or facial expression instead of just no-selling and hitting a big move. The crowd dug this way more than I did, but it’s a great showcase for El Generico on his bid to becoming the MVP of 2011 for PWG. Generico rules and Edwards is passable. 3 3/4 Stars.
The Young Bucks (c) vs Generation Next
Holy **** were these four motivated. My biggest issue with all four guys were how unmotivated or relying on the same exact formula in recent years. For this, every one of them stepped up. The match began with just a complete brawl seeing Gen Next destroy the Bucks just like Strong did with Bryan Danielson back at DDT4 2009. The fight even goes to the bathroom where Nick comes back out with toilet paper on him. Once the actual match began, the Bucks heeled it up with mocking Aries and back scratching the hell out of Roderick Strong. Aries shows them that he’s the bigger heel by scratching them right back. Even though the final few minutes has a lot of all four men action, they followed tag rules much more than in the average Bucks match. By the end, I was reacting to every move while sitting on the edge of my chair. The Bucks cheap victory earned a disappointing feeling from me. However, this is the sort of good disappointing you should feel when the babyfaces loses to the hated heels. Austin Aries’ one weekend return to PWG ended up being incredible. The guy was awesome in this. Surprisingly, the Roderick Strong of this match wasn’t the one I’ve been seeing lately in PWG. This was the old Roderick Strong that was having one great match after another back a few years ago. Easily the Bucks’ second best match (Just behind vs Hybrid Dolphins at DDT4 2009). WAY better than I imagined. Please bring Aries back, PWG! 4 1/4 Stars.
Chris Hero vs Akira Tozawa
Tozawa’s final match in PWG ends up being one of his better ones. Is it as good as their BOLA 2010 match? No, but a big reason why that match was so great was because no one had any idea that it’d be a classic. Tozawa went from being a random Dragon Gate guy who was working a few PWG shows into the talk of the town. Going into this rematch, everyone already knew how amazing Tozawa was. Despite already working one match, Tozawa was expected to put on another great match with Hero. That surprise factor wasn’t present here. What was present is a damn great match that started with back and forth action with neither man able to gain the advantage. The story of the match comes out once Hero is able to lay in the punishment with Tozawa refusing to stay down. You could say the match had too many kick outs, but I was into each one. The crowd wasn’t quite as into it as I’d imagine, but I’m fairly sure that’s only because they were exhausted. The finishing stretch is a thing of beauty with Tozawa finally slaying the dragon and defeating Hero after a series of backdrop suplexes. After already going crazy with the last match, this match was even better than the tag match. 4 1/4 Stars.
After the match, Tozawa gives his farewell while crying. Most of the time, I find it incredibly cheesy when a wrestler cries (IE. Christopher Daniels after his Davey Richards match in 2010), but this makes perfect sense. Tozawa went from being a nobody to Reseda’s most treasured wrestler. What PWG lacked in paychecks, I imagine they more than made up for in making Tozawa feel as if he meant something. With any luck, Tozawa will be back in PWG sometime in 2012. Otherwise, it’s going to be one hell of a disappointing year regardless of what PWG does.
Claudio Castagnoli (c) vs Low-Ki – PWG World Title
First time ever match. Ki earned this match by being a former (And unbeaten) PWG World Champion, winning BOLA 2008 and defeating (Unbeaten) former PWG World champion Davey Richards at Kurt RussellReunion. Early on, it’s a battle between Ki’s kicks and Claudio’s uppercuts. Before long, it breaks down into Claudio dominating the much smaller Ki. There are some clumsy/botched spots, but it’s not enough to ruin the match. The big thing is that it never quite reaches the epic feel that I was expecting. It’s a really good match, but is easily Claudio’s weakest PWG Title defenses. On the plus side, Claudio was put over strong by surviving the incredibly dominant Ki. When you look at Ki’s singles PWG record, he was something like 10-1 with his only singles loss coming to Samoa f’n Joe. So Claudio winning made Claudio look like a star. Then again, with Claudio leaving a couple of shows later, it doesn’t matter. A really good match with Ki finally going down to a great pop up European Uppercut, but it’s underwhelming due to expectations and coming after two great matches. 3 1/2 Stars.
Even though night 1 was a solid night of wrestling, it was made to look like a B show with this top notch event. With the worst match still being three stars, it’s an easy candidate for show of the year. In his final night with the company, Akira Tozawa steals the show and has to be the MVP of the weekend. In a little over twenty-four hours, Tozawa produced two PWG MOTYC’s and a third solid tag match. At the same time, it’s depressing realizing that all four men involved in the final two matches are no longer with PWG. Much to my delight, Roderick Strong finally stepped up to deliver one of his better PWG performances. Sadly, Kenny King failed for the second straight night to leave a favorable impression. While he’d probably do a much better job with Rhett Titus joining him, I can’t see PWG bothering to bring him back anytime soon. Both relatively newcomers, Willie Mack and Johnny Yuma, was put over strong in trying to further get them over. Great show though and one that may be the best single All Star Weekend event in it’s sixteen show history.
Worth Checking Out
Nightmare Violence Connection vs RockNES Monsters
Eddie Edwards vs El Generico
The Young Bucks vs Generation Next
Akira Tozawa vs Chris Hero
Claudio Castagnoli vs Low-Ki
Kenny King back in PWG
Wanting Brandon Cutler back