Written by: TJ Hawke
PWG is a company that I mostly gave up on after the 2014 DDT4 show (not a bad show at all though). The company was just slowly moving in a direction that I did not like more and more. Everything I heard about the shows after DDT4 seemed to confirm that. There was too much shtick, matches were going too long, wrestlers were not being paired up in interesting ways, etc. The company was just no longer for me. I heard good things about their shows in 2015 though. They seemed to be pushing new talents (like Speedball), and they made the best wrestler in the world (Roddy Strong) their new world champion. Between that and the fact that I have reviewed every other DDT4 show, I decided this would be the first full PWG show I watch in over in a year. Boy, did I ever pay for that decision.
May 22, 2015
Commentators: Excalibur, Chris Hero, Rick Knox, Joey Ryan
DDT4 First Round Match
The Beaver Boys (Alex Reynolds & John Silver) vs. Team Tremendous (Dan Barry & Bill Carr)
As far as near-20 minute, shtick-heavy matches go, this was actually pretty good. It was primarily a showcase for the debuting Team Tremendous as they got all their comedy and high spots in and made a strong first impression on the crowd. The match suffered whenever The Beaver Boys were in control though, as Reynolds offered nothing of value. Between that and excessive length, this match is not quite as good as it should have been. However, the match was much more about debuting Team Tremendous in a positive fashion, and it absolutely did that. (**3/4)
DDT4 First Round Match
The Keepers of the Lariat (Biff Busick & Drew Gulak) vs. Inner City Machine Guns (Ricochet & Rich Swann)
Much like the opener on this show, this just went on for far too long for no discernible reason. Unlike that match though, this did not have the charm of two wrestlers making their debut in front of the Reseda crowd and trying to make a great first impression. It was just a really long match for no reason other than to just go for a long time. Inner City eventually won the match after Swann hit Gulak with a middle rope 450. If you don’t have a twenty minute story to tell and the crowd is responding to you in a lukewarm manner, please don’t go twenty minutes. It is boring. (**)
DDT4 First Round Match
Love Ball (Mike Bailey & Matt Sydal) vs. Andrew Everett & Trevor Lee
This match had a ton of fun spots, but it did not come together as well as I expected. Sydal and Speedball did not have the instant chemistry needed to make for a good team, and this seemed like a waste of their talents to be perfectly honest. Everett and Lee won after they somewhat botched an assisted 630 senton. (**1/2)
We are over an hour into the show, and we’re only three matches in. Someone buy Super Danny a stopwatch so we can put a stop to this madness.
DDT4 First Round Match
World’s Cutest Tag Team(c) (Candice LeRae & Joey Ryan) vs. Monster Mafia (Ethan Page & Josh Alexander) [PWG World Tag Team Championship]
My issue with heels using sexism, homophobia, racism, transphobia, etc. for heat is that we are inevitably going to have to cheer for them at some point in the promotion. Odds are, said heel will never have to atone for his/her sins before that point. Wrestling is an art that demands going with whatever gets over. That’s why I always think it is best to just find more creative ways of getting heat instead of being a phobe of some kind. If you need to act like a sexist pig in order to get heat, you’re not all that good at your job anyway.
With that out of the way, this match was solid enough as soon as we got past Page being a sexist pig to Candice. While there were moments and sequences of dead air (and a poorly-executed ref bump), there were enough spurts of goodness to not completely dislike this one! It also featured Roderick Strong interfering at the end, and getting to watch Roddy run around like a mad man is great (even if it lasts less than a minute). In the end though, this featured too much nonsense that I have no interest in and continued the trend of matches in this tournament going on for way too fucking long. The Roddy interference eventually allowed Monster Mafia to finish off Ryan to pick up the win and the tag titles. (**1/4)
DDT4 Semifinal Match
Monster Mafia(c) (Ethan Page & Josh Alexander) vs. The Beaver Boys (Alex Reynolds & Josh Alexander) [PWG World Tag Team Championship]
I appreciated this match for one reason and that’s because they worked it as a non-stop brawl. It was the first match to change up the formula so far, and that is very necessary in a tournament. It probably would have been better used by other wrestlers though, as the crowd did not care about this one at all. When you combine flat brawling, wrestlers I am not interested in, and a clusterfuck finish (a low blow, a belt shot, and an accidental ref bump delaying the title switch), you get a poor match. Beaver Boys won the match and the titles after Page got hit with a belt. Alex Reynolds being able to claim that he is former PWG champion is bad news bears. (*)
DDT4 Semifinal Match
Trevor Lee & Andrew Everett vs. Inner City Machine Guns (Ricochet & Rich Swann)
This match featured lots of dancing, Attitude Era cosplay, and unfunny wrestlers trying to do comedy. If that is something that interests you, you will love this match. It works for some people. I think it’s boring and tired as fuck. If you want to make the argument that the shtick is over, you would be wrong. Does it usually get a pop? Absolutely. Does it make the crowd hotter or more invested in the matches? Rarely from what I have seen. This was a classic case of the latter. The match mercifully ended after a spiked hurricanrana from Everett on Swann. I found virtually nothing about this to be entertaining beyond a few high spots. (3/4*)
Team Tremendous are shtick wrestlers that do their shtick very well and then do flips at the end of the match. Ricochet and Swann are flip wrestlers that are terrible at shtick and do shtick in their matches whenever they damn well please. There is a BIG difference.
Johnny Gargano vs. TJ Perkins
Gargano has really lost his way over the last year or so (I acknowledge that there is a vocal group of fans that think he never had a “way” to begin with). While his push in WWN always felt forced to a certain degree, he was definitely over and giving fans what they wanted from their singles main events. That is just no longer the case. TJP is capable of that though, and I was hoping he would bring something fresh out of Gargano. I was wrong.
This was a 50/50 match with a handful of sequences and moments that were cool, but they did not come together to form a cohesive whole in the slightest. It was not actively bad (though the Gargano haters would undoubtedly think so), but there is nothing here that you need to see. Gargano eventually made TJP tap out to the GargaNo Escape to win the match. (**1/2)
Roderick Strong(c) vs. Brian Cage vs. Chris Hero [PWG World Championship]
Roddy tried his absolute hardest here to make the most of this, but it just went on way too fucking long to be much more than average. It was a typical triple threat in most ways, and it usually requires something exceptional about the structure for a triple threat to be good. The highlight was Roddy’s barrage of offense in the final twenty seconds that allowed him to retain the title after a kneeling Sick Kick on Cage. (**3/4)
PWG DDT4 Finals
The Beaver Boys(c) (John Silver & Alex Reynolds) vs. Trevor Lee & Andrew Everett [PWG World Tag Team Championship]
In some ways this was better than a lot of the matches on this show, but in other ways it was even more frustrating. I cannot deny how much better The Beaver Boys looked here as a team. They worked fully heel and did a good job targeting Everett’s leg. While this show was impossible to salvage, I thought we were on a way to a main event that the show could hang its hat on to a degree.T hen Andrew Everett decided to channel Kota Ibushi and BedxBreakfast Hulk to sell the leg for the rest of the match.
Working over a flippy wrestler’s leg (as I’ve explained ad nauseam) is a bad idea. If the flippy wrestler sells it well, then the flippy wrestler can’t do the things that make him entertaining. If he doesn’t sell it well and just does all his flips and whatnot, the work on his leg was a complete waste of time. Both options suck. The latter is probably a little bit worse. Everett chose the latter. He was connecting on kicks and doing all sorts of kicks during his team’s comeback that would require great use of legs. He would then sell the leg between the moves. This is acceptable to some people, but I think it’s lazy bullshit. Don’t tell that story if you’re not going to tell it all the way. (And the “adrenaline” excuse is lazy.)
Anyway, Everett and Lee eventually survived long enough to thwart The Beaver Boys’ attempts to cheat to win, and Lee won the match, tournament, and titles with a small package. As I understand it, that’s Lee’s finisher in PWG so I won’t give them a hard time about the fruit roll-up finish. (**1/4)
I do not know if this was worse than Evolve 39, but this was an exceptionally bad professional wrestling show from the supposed number one independent wrestling company in the world (and possibly the worst indie show of the year that I will see). The quality control here was just awful, as it came across like the inmates were running the asylum. All four first found matches taking up twenty minutes of screentime (between introductions and matches)? How does that possibly happen on a one-night tournament? I’m sure the company can care less what a few critics say about their shows when they continue to instantly sell out their shows and make a killing every single time before the DVD even gets released. If this is the kind of show this company is putting out these days, I will just go right back to ignoring them.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.